27 May 2014

#21-52ancestors: Husband Breaks Rule No. 8

#21-52ancestors—Husband Breaks Rule No. 8

Nancy (Vanderpool) Baird (1805-1851)

There should be some laws that our ancestors have to obey —such as:
1. Leave a note at your old place as to where you are removing to and where you will be stopping for awhile along the way
2. Indicate which Thomas, Richard  or Harry is your namesake
3. Red flag all family legends and myths
4. Keep a journal or diary
5. Reveal who is inheriting the family Bible
6. Prepare a list of the nicknames of all of your children and if you call any of them by their middle name, rather than their first name, say so
7. Leave a will and spell out all names and relationships therein
8. Don’t even think about marrying two (or more) women with the same given name

It is Rule No. 8 that has me in a tizzy and working furiously updating files and alerting cousins about a problem. No wonder genealogies are never completed. There are those thoughtless husbands like Alexander Harmon Baird (1804-1884) who come along, perch upon your family tree, but don’t follow the rules. As a result I have recorded the wrong wife buried beside him. How dare him marry two women named Nancy!

I dutifully tracked Nancy Vanderpool, finding her 1826 marriage record to Alexander Harmon Baird in Ashe County, North Carolina and followed them through the various censuses, other records, and eventually to the Baird Cemetery in Valle Crucis in Watauga County, North Carolina. They died about a year apart or so I thought. The probate records indicated that the widow, Nancy, was to receive so much for a year’s support allowance. It was a small estate and all their children were then grown. In fact, only four of them were still living when Alexander died — two daughters were left in North Carolina, one son was in Tennessee, and another son was off “somewhere in Kansas.” This family lost three sons during the Civil War.

Earlier, the only indication I had had was that there might be something amiss in this genealogy was in the 1860 census when Alexander and Nancy were not enumerated together. He was listed as “widowed” but a few pages later I found a Nancy Baird of about the correct age with other family members and assumed (the fatal error of genealogists everywhere) that the couple might have been separated for whatever reason. When they don’t leave notes, it is difficult to be sure what is going on. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, Alexander and Nancy were back together and all appeared well.

Recently a cousin sent me a copy of an obituary for Alexander Harmon Baird from an 1884 newspaper in which it noted that his first wife, my Nancy Vanderpool, had died in 1851 and in 1870 he had remarried — to a Miss Nancy Brown. She must be the Nancy buried next to Alexander in 1885. So where did he bury his first wife — my Nancy Vanderpool (1805-1851) and why didn’t he leave me a note?

20 May 2014

#20-52ancestors: Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

#20-52ancestors:   Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

William Clark Endicott (1839-1922)

Camp Rossville, Georgia
March the 8th, 1864

Ever Respected Father:
I take the present opportunity of sending you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I sincerely hope that when these few lines may come to hand that they may find you enjoying the same Blessing. We are back at our Old Camp. We found the boys all well, there is not a sick man in our Company and I do not know of one in the Regiment. We have plenty to eat and very light duty. We have just got things in working order. The recruits are drilling this morning. We have over 100 men in our company.

I wish that you would send me some Postage Stamps for I came to Chattanooga without any, intending to get them there and when I got there I could not get them for they had none in the town. If you can send me a dollar’s worth it will do me for a while. If not, the letters will be few and far between that I will write to any one for a while.

I want you to trade that sorrel off if you have not done it and work the bay all the time you can make them earn their feed if possible.

Tell the rest of the folks that I will write as soon as I can if not sooner . . . if they do not get disheartened and too soon. I got a letter from Aunt Vilet [sic] when I came back, but it was written before the one that you got while I was home and there was nothing interesting in it.

We have very plesant [sic] weather here now. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends and my love to grandmother and Aunts and Cousins.

Please write soon. Direct to Nashville, Tennessee, in care of Capt. Wilson, Co. E, 10th Illinois Infantry. [Capt. Wilson probably was Samuel J. Wilson, also of Henderson County, Illinois, who later was promoted to major].

Signed: William C. Endicott
To: Joseph Endicott (his father)

Henderson County, Illinois

About the author of this letter: William Clark Endicott enlisted as a private in Union Army in May of 1861 in Henderson County, Illinois. He served in the 10th Illinois Infantry, which went into forays into Kentucky and Missouri to break up Rebel camps; went to New Madrid, Missouri with Pope’s Army; to Nashville and supported General William T. Sherman in his attack on Missionary Ridge, pursued the Confederates to Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia; marched to the relief of Knoxville, Tennessee, returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee and winter quartered in the rear at Rossville, Walker County, Georgia from where he wrote this letter and also where re-enlisted. Later his outfit took  part in the campaign against Atlanta and was with General Sherman on his historic “March to the Sea” and until the close of the war. William Clark Endicott was mustered out 4 July 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sometime after the war he went to Missouri where he married Mary Jane Bass 17 September 1867 in Dallas County. They had 12 children and eventually removed to eastern Oregon. William Clark Endicott was the only known child of Joseph Endicott (1815-after 1870) and Lydia Clark, who died before 1850. A great deal of genealogical work has been done on Joseph Endicott and his New Jersey and New England lineage.

William's father, Joseph Endicott, had seven known siblings — four sisters and three brothers. Names of their spouses have been identified. None of them are named Violet. Not much is known about William's mother, Lydia Clark, who died young, or about her family. So who is this ‘Aunt Vilet” that William Clark Endicott refers to in the letter? She appears to be connected to the Endicott side of the family. Is her name Violet or is “Vilet” just a variant spelling, perhaps a nickname or a middle name? Is she a real aunt, a grandaunt or a cousin that he called aunt? Or none of the above? The name must have a special meaning for William Clark Endicott as he named his first-born child, Violet Ann.

The longer I’m engaged in genealogical research, the more I see its similarities to baseball. Our ancestors and their records are crafty pitchers, constantly hurling a variety of challenges at us. I think I just took a swing and missed a slurve ball on "Aunt Vilet."

12 May 2014

#19-52ancestors: Ida Hensley

#19-52ancestors: Ida Hensley

I Remember Mama

Two adjectives describe my maternal grandmother — or Mama as I called her (because that’s what her children called her) — feisty and loquacious.

Ida (Hensley) Fricks ca 1946 in Texas

I spent a major portion of my early childhood with Mama and Papa (my grandparents) on their little farm in eastern Oklahoma. I was their baby’s baby and they doted on me. It is Mama to whom I owe my love of family history, cooking, and an appreciation of music.

Mama loved to sing as she did her chores around the house or in the garden, and interspersed with the old songs, she’d tell me about when she was girl in Alabama, about coming to Indian Territory in a wagon when she was 15, meeting Papa at a dance where he was the caller and her older brother was a fiddler. On Saturdays when we went “to town” to buy groceries and shop, she’d visit with old friends and family members and talk about the “old days” and catch up about everyone’s families, their health and welfare. I was quiet child, listened well, took it all in, not knowing that someday I would write so much about my families or how important all this would be to my genealogical pursuits.

When her brothers and sisters came to visit her, they usually brought their fiddles and mouth organs (harmonicas) and the music and songs would fill the air as they sat on the front porch, often spilling out into the yard under the big locust and walnut trees. How they could sing and play — bluegrass, gospel, country, hillbilly — and wonderful old-time songs like “She’ll be coming 'round the mountain.” My favorite verse was about “killing the old red rooster and having chicken and dumpling.”

One of her brothers was a preacher and when he came to visit they’d play and sing the old Gospel tunes like “Life’s Like a Mountain Railroad” and “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” Mama had what was called “perfect (or absolute) pitch” and a beautiful alto voice and oh, how she and her siblings could harmonize. She amazed me with her ability to play almost any musical instrument — all by “ear.” I wish she had passed that gene to me.

Ida (Hensley) Fricks ca 1930

My Mother, like so many young moms, was usually too busy to let me “help” with chores. I was not the most coordinated kid in the county. But Mama had plenty of time and patience. She and I would sit at the kitchen table and shell pecans and smash walnuts, picking out the meats for cakes and pies. We gathered eggs, took care of the chickens; hoed and pulled the weeds in the garden and picked the lettuce, carrots, corn, cabbage, radishes, onions, and cucumbers. As they ripened, we’d pick blackberries, grapes, plums, apples, peaches and apricots and she taught me how to make jellies and jams.

Mama arrived in Indian Territory as a teenager in 1894 with her parents, siblings and three other wagon loads of her father’s brothers and their families. Over and over I heard the story of how they crossed the mighty Mississippi River on a ferry and in the hustle and bustle of getting all the wagons and everyone across, they left her puppy on the eastern side and couldn’t go back to find him and how she and her sisters cried “all the way to Indian Territory.”

Mama was 5’3” with auburn hair and it was thick and coarse, so coarse she said it was like a “horse’s tail.” And she used a large comb that she called a “cornstalk” to untangle her mane. Of all the family treasures, I wish I had that comb, but Mama died while I was in Germany and by the time I returned to Oklahoma no one knew what had happened to it.

At 16 she had gone to work at Bacone College, the local Indian school, in the laundry department. She prided herself on being a good worker and she was, but she always preferred the work outdoors to indoor house work. Her yard and flowerbeds were beautifully kept and her garden was something to behold. She kept the house “respectably clean” but frequent dusting, mopping and window cleaning were not at the top of her priorities. The kitchen was immaculate, but it might take a while to find something in it as she suffered from a disorder she passed on to me — the organizationally impaired gene.

She met Papa at a dance soon after they came to Indian Territory and they were married when she was 20, although she had wanted to wait until she was 21 she told me. He towered one-foot and one-inch above her, but what a team they made as they worked hard on a farm and reared seven of eight children to adulthood.

I’m so glad she took me with her to the cemeteries to visit the graves of her parents and siblings and told me about stories about them. She imbued in me an appreciation of family history and made my childhood rich beyond measure. I know someday I’ll see my Mama again — “in the sweet bye and bye.”

05 May 2014

#16-52ancestors Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool


Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool

Identifying female ancestors properly especially when cousins marry

One of my pet peeves is finding family trees where the woman's husband's surname is given as her maiden name. Or her first husband's surname is recorded as though it were her maiden name with no clue that her maiden name has not yet been determined. Even worse is to find her listed as Mrs. John Smith. Novices are often guilty of not listing females correctly by their maiden names and when that name is unknown, many fail to list her as Mary [ —?—] Smith or as Mary [—?—] Jones Smith. It is especially important when cousins (or relatives) with the same surname marry to indicate that the bride’s maiden name is the same as her husband’s. The way to do this is to put parentheses around her maiden name and to include her married name when writing about her. You probably will have to tweak your computer-generated reports to produce these results. Cousin marriages are much more common than today's genealogists seem to think.

An article that includes the way used by many U.S. scholarly genealogical publications to show unknown maiden names (as well as other unknowns) can be found in the archives of the RootsWeb Review here: http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/pub/review/20030827.txt

These scholarly periodicals use em dashes rather than two hyphens, but because many genealogy software programs are unable to produce them (much like old typewriters’ incapability), it is acceptable to record an unknown given name or surname by using two hyphens separated by a question mark inside of brackets. If your word processor (or blog) has the capability to create em dashes, use them instead of two hyphens.

William VANDERPOOL was born in 1808 in Ashe County, North Carolina. He married first Mary “Polly” Fuson about 1828, probably in Tennessee, but no marriage record has yet been found. Born in 1803, probably in Smith County, Tennessee, Polly was the daughter of Thomas Fuson, a Revolutionary War soldier, and Rachel Permelia Roberson (Robinson). In the 1830 Campbell County, Tennessee census they (only the head of household is actually named, but William is shown with a female of the right age to be the wife and one young male are in the household) appear. William and Polly removed to Indiana in the early 1830s as William is mentioned in probate records of Marion County, (where his parents died) as of then being of Parke County, Indiana and his second son, James was born in that state about 1831. It was a short stay in Indiana as they relocated back Kentucky between 1835 and 1840 evidently to reside near where Polly’s Fuson family lived in Knox County.

In the early 1840s William and Polly moved again, this time to Missouri. In 1844 and 1846 he was Missouri State Legislature, representing old Putnam County, Missouri. What part the border boundary reorganization between Missouri and Iowa might have played in his Missouri political career ending is not known. Polly died 18 August 1849 near Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, probably in childbirth with her 10th child. She is buried there.

Less than three weeks after his first wife died William Vanderpool, 41, married his cousin, 20-year-old Mahala Vanderpool, on 3 September 1849 in Sullivan County, Missouri. Mahala is believed to be the daughter of Elijah Vanderpool (William’s uncle) and Hannah Bates Fuson, although no documentary evidence has been found yet to support this. However, if the genealogy is accurate, Mahala and William were first cousins via the Vanderpool line, plus Mahala was also the niece of William’s first wife, Polly Fuson. That made Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool a 1C1R (first cousin once removed) on the Vanderpool side and a first cousin on the Fuson side to her stepchildren.

Mahala Vanderpool was born about 1830 in Kentucky. In the 1850 census, William and Mahala are enumerated twice — first in Dade County, Missouri on 26 August and a bit later that year —on  6 November — just over the state line in Decatur County, Iowa. They appeared in the 1859 Kansas state census and in the 1860 federal enumeration in Davis County, Kansas at Fort Riley. Moss did not grow under William’s restless feet.

William, a blacksmith, served for a time during the Civil War in the Union Army shoeing horses in Missouri. However, in the summer of 1864 he was back in Decatur County, Iowa, according to a letter he wrote to Rachel, a daughter by Polly. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses he and his second family are in Newton County, Arkansas where James, one of his sons by Polly, had settled.

William (with a family of eight) last appears on a Cherokee Nation intruder list in the early 1880s with 20 acres and listed as residing in Sequoyah District of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. He died on 5 August 1884 in Redland, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, according to the Civil War pension claim which his widow, Mahala, filed. Mahala died about 1900, probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.
Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool
William VANDERPOOL and Mary "Polly" FUSON had 10 children with seven of them surviving to adulthood. They have been researched extensively. By his second wife, Mahala Vanderpool, William had nine more children and additional research needs to be done on this family. They are:

 i. Isabella VANDERPOOL was born about 1852 in Dade County, Missouri and is listed as idiotic in the 1870 census Some claim (and a marriage record so indicates) that she married a Henry Rodgers in Laclede County Missouri on 18 March 1867. However, that marriage record also says the parties are of sufficient age, and Isabella would have been only 15. Moreover, she is enumerated with her family in 1870 and she always enumerated with her parents. Additionally, there is no indication that her family was ever in Laclede County, Missouri. They mystery of the marriage record has not been solved. Evidently Isabella died between 1881 and 1885 probably in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

ii. Josephine Ellen VANDERPOOL, born on 5 July 1854, Arkansas, married (as his second wife) John D. NIXON on 23 February 1877 in Newton County, Arkansas. She died 5 January 1940 in Boone County, Arkansas.

iii. Benjamin Franklin VANDERPOOL, born about 1857 in Missouri; married Lavina (or Lorna) Jane "Jane" GATLING (also spelled GATLIN), on 25 February 1877 in Newton County, Arkansas. He died after 1880, probably in Arkansas. No additional information about Jane.

iv. Henrietta VANDERPOOL, born about 1860 in Missouri, married J. T. "Lewis" HUGGINS (or HIGGINS) 11 July 1878 in Newton County, Arkansas; she died after 1910, probably in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma.

v. Hannah M. VANDERPOOL, born 22 October 1861 in Arkansas, married George William Henry KILE, about 1887, probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. She died 16 December 1894 in Redland, Sequoyah District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. Her two surviving children by KILE went to New Mexico.

vi. Doctor Martin VANDERPOOL was born about 1864 probably in Iowa. He died between 1881 and 1900 probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

vii. Arrena A. VANDERPOOL was born in 1866 in Missouri. Evidently she died young, probably in Newton County, Arkansas between 1871 and 1880.

viii. Jonathon Ellsworth “John” VANDERPOOL was born between 1867 and 1870 in either Missouri or Arkansas. He married first Elizabeth SULLIVAN on 30 March 1893 in Newton County, Arkansas; he married secondly Mamie HEATHCOCK, on 14 June 1898 in Vireton, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He died between 1921 and 1930 probably in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.

ix. Stephen Alexander “Steve” VANDERPOOL, born 11 March 1872 in Newton County, Arkansas, married first Hannah HARRIS, on 21 May 1900 in Vireton, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He married secondly Nancy MATHIS 19 April 1913 in Newton County, Arkansas. He died 5 February 1938 in Newton County, Arkansas.
Shaking Your Family Tree
(c) Myra Vanderpool Gormley's logo

Additions and corrections are most welcome. Sources and citations are available upon request by contacting me: myravgormley@gmail.com


04 May 2014

#18-52ancestors: John R. Vanderpool

#18-52 Ancestors—John R. Vanderpool

Make Your Mark

Specific name spelling is one of the sacred cows of American genealogy. Beginning genealogists expound endlessly upon the “correct” spelling of names, especially surnames, found in their family trees. Some become irate when another researcher spells their ancestor’s name “wrong” (as if there were only one way to spell a name) on an online tree.

They often relate worn-out and long disproven legends about how name changes (variant spellings) in their family were done by officials at Ellis Island, [expletive deleted] census takers, or to disguise their Indian ethnicity, and one of my favorites —- how a name was changed by using a different spelling to hide someone fleeing from the law.

An image of a horse thief on the lam in Texas flashes through my mind. Stopped by a Texas Ranger, he is asked, “What’s your name, dude?”

“Sam Basse,” comes the reply.

“How do you spell that?” asks the Ranger (it is OK to roll your eyes here).


“Well, sorry, I stopped you. You’re free to go — the fellow we’re looking for spells his name Bass.”

Even my nearly perfect family had a couple of name-spelling legends that were cherished and passed along. One involved a story about a business adventure by two brothers. The deal went sour, so they decided to separate and agreed thereafter to spell their surname differently. There’s not a shred of truth in it, but it was fun to trace and disprove.

John R. Vanderpool
The other was my paternal grandfather’s middle name. In a family overloaded with Johns, that middle name takes on more than ordinary importance in identifying just which John you’re talking about. Grandmother (his widow) claimed his name was John Roberson Vanderpool. Who can doubt grandma?

Others in the older generation agreed, it was Roberson, not Robinson, claiming that he was named for some relative “way back there.”

Some thought he was named for his grandpa —- an Arkansas Union Civil War hero ancestor, Captain James R. Vanderpool. The “R” was assumed to be for Roberson. My research on that line eventually took me back to a Rachel Roberson, whose father, it was claimed was a James, and hence the link to the Roberson name in our family.

Sounded logical, although I have been unable to prove this connection and it has become one of my many “going to research this further one of these days” projects.

Grandpa Vanderpool died young, in the summer of 1919. He was only 43, a victim of heart disease and the Spanish flu. His gravestone simply reads “John R. Vanderpool.”

When the World War I draft registration records (and images) became available for Oklahoma, I first searched them for his brother and cousins. Family stories claimed Grandpa had been ill for some time, so I didn’t think it was likely he would be found in those draft records. I was wrong and what a surprise was in store for me.

He shows up in the third registration taken on 12 September 1918. There in his own signature is his name —- John Robinson Vanderpool.

Another family legend bites the dust. Soon I am going to be an exotic genealogist —- one without any unproven family legends.